Indigenous People's Day 2017: All the Memes You Need to See

Jerome Frank
October 10, 2017

Before being given its official federal holiday designation, Columbus Day was celebrated in many communities in this country dating back to 1792.

Berkeley's move of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day in 1992, was followed by multiple other localities including Santa Cruz, California; Dane County, Wisconsin; Minneapolis; Seattle; Missoula, Montana; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Denver; Phoenix; Iowa City, Iowa; Nashville, Tennessee; Ithaca, New York, among others. At the time, Columbus served as a canvas for 19th-century ideas of individualism, Lane explained, a man of science who bucked authority as he ventured forth into the unknown.

This debate over Columbus Day continues as many fought this summer over the toppling of Robert E. Lee statues and other historical figures.

Landing of Columbus, (1847) by American painter John Vanderlyn, shows the explorer arriving in the West Indies on October 12, 1492.

Barron described Columbus as a "colonizer" who "enslaved Africans and slaughtered indigenous people".

Enjoy your Columbus Day and I hope everyone takes time to think about the complexities of history; when accomplishments are measured up against the imperfections of human beings.

Such re-evaluations don't change history, but they do change how we remember it.

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Aguirre said people have been protesting the statue for years, and his next step is to speak with city council about taking it down. Even in recent years, historians have published new books about the ways Columbus impacted the modern world.

Obama's proclamation in 2016 struck a different tone, saying, "We must also acknowledge the pain and suffering reflected in the stories of Native Americans who had long resided on this land prior to the arrival of European newcomers".

Leaving Columbus monuments up lets viewers reckon with his whole legacy, Lane said, good and bad.

"The implementation of Indigenous Peoples' Day shows that these changes can happen, and people can become educated about the truth", Frazer said.

"You still have to deal with Columbus", he said.

Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed a special commission to review all statues on city property that may be offensive, including the statue of Columbus in Columbus Circle. He also landed on an island called Hispaniola and explored the Central and South American coasts.

Wilmington Selectman Kevin Caira, a member of the Wilmington Sons of Italy, said some people are trying to rewrite history.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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